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Karen Fann
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Arizona Senate president’s emails related to election audit made public

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann. (AP File Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX – More than 500 pages of Arizona Senate President Karen Fann’s emails related to the ongoing audit of the 2020 Maricopa County election were made public last week, revealing new insight into the Republican’s thought process.

American Oversight, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog for governmental abuses of power, posted the emails Friday after obtaining them through a public records request.

Fann has been saying publicly said she pursued the audit for the sake of restoring faith in the election process and finding ways to make it better, and not to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.

Her emails, however, convey messages that vary depending on the audience.

On May 21 she responded to an audit supporter accusing her of “pandering/floundering to the liberal base” because she said the outcome won’t change the official election results.

Fann replied by implying that her public statements are her sweet way of opening the door for something sour to come: “Our only goal is to get this audit finished before they try to shut us down again. Sometimes honey does better than vinegar when you want to get something done. The vinegar will come at the end.”

That same day she replied to an audit critic who said Fann needs to “make peace with the fact that we voted out Trump.”

In that case, Fann echoed her previous public stance: “This is where you are mistaken. Biden won. Forty-five percent of all Arizona voters thinks there is a problem with the election system. The audit is to disprove those theories or find ways to improve the system.”

However, while the battle over access to Maricopa County’s voting equipment and nearly 2.1 million ballots was still working its way through the courts in December, Fann implied she was coordinating with Trump and his associates.

“Maybe you are not aware that our Senate is doing everything legally possible to get the forensic audit done and we are suing the Maricopa BOS [Board of Supervisors],” she wrote in response to an email accusing her of not doing enough to prevent Biden’s victory from being certified. “I have been in numerous conversations with Rudy Giuliani over the past weeks trying to get this done. I have the full support of him and a personal call from President Trump thanking us for pushing to prove any fraud.”

The state Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Arizona’s largest county for a wide array of election materials in December. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors was reluctant to turn over the ballots and machines, arguing that it would be against state law to do so.

The county also hired two certified firms to conduct independent audits, which found no irregularities.

In February, however, Superior Court Judge Timothy Thomason ruled in the Senate’s favor. Fann then hired several contractors, led by Cyber Ninjas, to do a hand recount of the ballots and inspect tabulation machines and computer systems.

Maricopa County Republican leaders and critics of all stripes have questioned the experience, motives and competence of the firms. Much of the concern has been centered around Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who before being hired for the Arizona audit had apparently posted sympathetically about election conspiracies in a deleted Twitter account.

The audit started April 23 at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. The only races being recounted are president and U.S. senator, seats Democrats narrowly won in the county and state.

The process is expected to be completed by the end of June, when the lease agreement for use of the building expires.

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